“Dear Colleagues, I was tested positive of the coronavirus, I really don’t know how but please keep me in prayers.” This too will pass,” Dr. Nathaniel Blamah, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), texted his colleagues through WhatsApp upon being tested positive of Coronavirus. The text message by Dr. Blamah to his colleagues confirmed announcement by President George Weah in a nationwide address naming Dr. Blamah as the first person to be diagnosed of the Coronavirus in Liberia. The President told the nation that Blamah, who arrived in Liberia on Brussels Airlines last Friday night along with several other officials of Government traveling on the same flight, chose not to be quarantined, in keeping with the health protocols that were in place at the airport.
The Executive Director of EPA, in an audio podcast, has broken silence on his contraction of the CONVID-19 as the first case in Liberia, saying that the public was misinformed that he breached health protocols at the Roberts International Airport.
In his podcast, an audio recording which was obtained by The Analyst, Dr. Blamah explained that: I want to urge you guys to remain calm; I’m not doing anything out of protocol. I talked to the doctor, and the doctor advised that since I’m okay, to not create panic, I should drive myself to the hospital and the ambulance was going to drive behind me and we did just that.
He then wondered, “Why are you guys panicking, talk to Dr. Kateh, talk to Dr. Fallah, that’s what we agreed. And when they brought the ambulance in the community, the community members got concerned and started running behind it after even the health workers escorted me and I got in it.”
The EPA boss further lamented in the audio: Then you guys have done enough damage by misinforming the public that I refused quarantine. This is not true and that’s unfair.”
An EPA press release issued earlier before the podcast also refuted the claim that the EPA director had breached health protocol at the airport. The release signed by the agency’s communication specialist instead said the President may have been probably misinformed.
The EPA release, explained that the EPA boss requested for additional testing after going through screening at the Robert International Airport (RIA) following his return from Switzerland.
“The President was probably misinformed and it is our hope that the correct information will be put out there. Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr. went through the regular screening at the RIA along with other Government officials to be identified,” release said.
Ms. Dennis however said that Dr. Blamah himself voluntarily requested additional testing, knowing that he was from Switzerland. “The test came out positive and he went into self-quarantine and later drove himself to a government quarantine center.”
The EPA Communication Specialist said “the information given to the President is incorrect. Dr. Blamah is law-abiding and if he had voluntarily not asked for additional testing, no one would have known he’s positive. He also informed his entire staff about the result. It is important to note that he drove himself to the treatment center.”
Photo circulated was shared by himself to tell his staff he is positive, the EPA release signed by its media and commination specialist concluded.
In a nationwide broadcast announcing the first confirmed COVID-19, the President said, “Mr. Blamah chose not to be quarantined in keeping with the health protocols that were in place at the airport.
The president announced an intensive tracing exercise is underway to identify and test all persons with whom Dr. Blamah came into contact.
All other persons who traveled and by-passed the mandatory screening protocols are being made to report to the health authorities immediately and without any further delay, the President furthered, adding that any other person who attempts to by-pass screening at any post of entry will be arrested and taken into compulsory quarantine.